“Mum, I’ve run out of knickers again!”, has been the catch cry of my daughter over the last few months. How can a drawer full of knickers simply disappear into nowhere? She tells me that she put them in the wash, but a frantic search (it’s always right before we have to go out that she discovers the absence of said knickers) reveals no knickers in the laundry basket, tumble dryer, washing machine, or on the clothes line. A “mother’s” look reveals cast off knickers under my daughter’s bed, under a pile of other dirty clothes in her room, on the floor of the bathroom, and just generally scattered everywhere but “the wash”.
I decided it was time to fix this situation by making my daughter some more knickers. I had done this previously in the past, using the bottom half of a leotard pattern, which was passable to use in a pinch, but not quite right for an everyday pair of knickers. But then I discovered two things that have really made my knickers a dream to make and wear – Jalie patterns, and fold-over elastic!
Jalie make the majority of their patterns in a huge range of sizes, from toddler to larger adult, all in one pattern. So I could make my daughter and myself some knickers using just the one pattern.
Fold-over elastic is exactly what the name implies – elastic that has a crease down the centre and can be folded over the raw edge of almost anything to create a professionaly finish. I have used it on t-shirt necklines, knickers, the neck and armholes of dresses, and sleeve cuffs. It can be stretched and used in place of elastic or ribbing, or used just barely stretched to replace bias binding or turned up edges. Very versatile!
Anyway, I dragged out my Jalie patterns, and decided on Jalie 2568 in the low cut bikini style. Compared to the Jalie 2564 bikini, this bikini pattern is very slightly lower cut across “the cheeks” without being a hipster. But even that small difference means the knickers don’t ride up where they aren’t wanted!! The Jalie 2564 makes provisions for using fold-over elastic though, where the Jalie 2568 does not. So I had to trim away a quarter of an inch from the leg openings where the fabric would normally be folded over to encase standard elastic. The other alteration I make to this pattern is to extend the crotch lining by an inch or so, as it just seems too short for my liking.
The fold-over elastic just gets folded over the raw edge, stretched to fit the opening, and stitched with a small zig-zag stitch. It can also be attached in two steps, stitching the back on first, and then folding it to the front and stitching again. I like to overlock the raw edge of the fabric I will be attaching the elastic to first, because then I know that if my fold-over elastic covers the overlocking, then it is secured firmly to the fabric and hasn’t slipped out of position towards the edge of the fabric.
After very little time, I had produced three more pairs of knickers for my daughter. I used cotton lycra fabric, the mint green from SewBaby, and the patterned fabric from Spotlight Australia. The fold-over elastic came from various online stores, including Sew Sassy Fabrics, Fabric Hound, and sellers on Etsy.
I just love making such quick and easy items. The almost instant gratification keeps me motivated through to the finish, and knickers tend not to flounder in my UFO (unfinished object) pile for long, if at all.
So now I shouldn’t hear so much of the “I can’t find any knickers” cries. Too right!! The excitement of new knickers has resulted in them being put in the wash quick smart, so they can be worn again soon. So I began to relax once more, confident that my daughter would have all the items she needs in order to start the day. Until my morning cup of tea was interrupted with my daughter in full voice….
“Mum, I can’t find any socks!!”